The Waterville-Mansfield boys basketball team continued to fight hard and find new ways to compete. Unfortunately, the final scores of this week’s games did not end the way the team had hoped for. On Friday night, the Shockers fell to the Bridgeport Mustangs 59-38. The following day the boys continued to battle but came up short against the Soap Lake Eagles 45-28.
Against the Mustangs, the Shockers had trouble transitioning back to defense quickly enough to counter Bridgeport’s up-tempo style offense. It also didn’t help that the Mustangs were hot from behind the three-point arc, making seven from long range. Even in defeat, the night wasn’t lost for the Shockers. Head Coach Joel Barnes was encouraged that in the second half, his team figured out how to get the posts better involved. This led to a stronger second half for the team and provided valuable lessons that will help the team continue to improve.
For the night, Cole Borden had a strong showing with 14 points. Preston Mulanax contributed an additional 8 points. Gavin Haight continued to be strong on the boards, recording 11 rebounds.
Saturday, the Shockers came out ready to play against a team they knew was going to be a challenge. Waterville-Mansfield refused to make anything easy for the Eagles, as our hometown team trailed just 7-10 at the end of the first quarter and 11-18 at the half. While the Shockers had a solid game plan and showed they have learned valuable lessons from their first two weeks, poor free throw shooting ultimately doomed the team.
“We had the game plan of utilizing our posts and getting Soap Lake into a mismatch, but we could not capitalize on free throws. We had their main guys off the floor for a while with foul trouble, but we shot just 5/18 in the first half. In the second half we kept getting the same opportunities, but went 5/15 from the line,” Barnes said.
While their shots did not fall versus the Eagles, the Shockers saw a lot of positives. Not only did they get to the free throw line often on a well-executed game plan, but the Shockers also showed they are learning to deal with the full court press when they get the ball, allowing the team to move the ball to their side of the court. Coach Barnes sees his team headed in the right direction.
“We have put pieces together, but not the whole puzzle. I think we are close as the growth is happening quickly! The kids are amazing and such a good group to coach,” he said.
Gavin Haight led the way against the Eagles, recording a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Cole Borden also had an encouraging night. While he only recorded 4 points, he had a lot of good looks at the basket; unfortunately, he was unable to get his shots to fall like they were the night before.
The Junior Varsity team was also in action both nights. They fought hard in both games, but ultimately lost in two tightly contested games. On Friday, they fell to the Mustangs 54-46. On Saturday, they were edged out by the Eagles 52-46.
This week the Shockers (1-4, 1-4 league) have two important league games to start the week and one non-league game to finish off the week. Tuesday, they host the Wilson Creek Devils (1-1, 1-1 league) at 7:30 P.M. Friday, the Shockers travel to Pateros to take on the Billygoats (0-4, 0-3 league) at 7:30 p.m. Finally on Saturday, Waterville-Mansfield hosts the Wilbur-Creston Wildcats (0-2) at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night’s game is Ugly Sweater night in Waterville; fans are encouraged to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters to the game.